Jul 12, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Jeff Schuessler knows that to make it as an artist, you have to play all the angles.
Making art is one thing. Marketing it is quite another.
It’s a little like fishing. The more lines you drop into the water, the more bites you’re likely to get.
Carefully baiting all his hooks, Schuessler – who has a day job as a high-school teacher – has opened a gallery, a hat and clothing company, created graphics for Infinite Designs and has developed websites with Byrne Advertising.
Before ultimately switching to art education, the versatile Schuessler studied advertising, and he now teaches art at Fayetteville-Manlius High School. While matriculating at Syracuse University in the 1990s, the budding artist was a star lacrosse player on championship teams coached by Roy Simmons Jr., himself a noted sculptor and collagist.
Recently, Schuessler opened a new exhibit space, the Silverwood Gallery, at 7393 Silverwood Drive, Manlius; 529-6669; JeffSchuesslerArt.com. The Silverwood will initially exhibit his own artwork exclusively, but he plans to open the space to other artists in the future.
Over the past decade, Schuessler has worked hard to forge partnerships with influential art scenesters such as former Madison Avenue gallery owner Richard Castellane, who commissioned a major installation. Like most of his artworks, Schuessler’s central idea for Castellane’s “Meditation Altar” was simple: a ball on a hill.
The collegiate laxman now chases a different ball as he displays his conceptual artworks everywhere from Syracuse to Utica, from West Palm Beach to Armory Square.
This past January, Schuessler showed selected charcoal works at Harold’s Coffee Lounge in West Palm Beach, Fla. And now his “Inertia Series – Eclectic Selections” is hanging through mid-August at Pastabilities, 311 S. Franklin St., in Syracuse’s historic Armory Square; 474-1153.
Schuessler’s focus on theories on motion and time began with the thought of a ball rolling down a hill. That natural curiosity that began during his adolescence evolved over time, yet his works – such as the charcoal drawing “String Theory” and the oil-on-canvas called “Stare” – consistently and cleverly reflect his initial central idea.
“I decided that for each amount of space that the ball could roll, there was a shorter distance that it would have to roll first. I was stuck on the eternal division of space and concluded that the ball should never leave its resting spot at the top of the hill,” Schuessler wrote in his artist’s statement. “The work in my ‘Inertia Series’ addresses the questions and inconsistencies I find with my conceptual understanding of both space and time. The circle dominates as my subject, allowing me to explore the tension created by the juxtaposition of implied motion within, and the inherent stillness of the work as a whole.”
Abstract painter Michael Sickler, the former chairman of SU’s Studio Arts Department, encouraged Schuessler to complete his “Inertia Series,” and now it’s clear that his adolescent fascination with higher math has evolved into a serious artistic vocation.
In 2008, Schuessler collaborated on a design project with F-M High School technology teacher and Infinite Designs owner Marc Yakowec. Recalling a college project in which he utilized light inside a wall-mounted sculpture, Yakowec had suggested they construct some of Schuessler’s drawings three dimensionally in a similar manner. “Cityscape” and Held” began as full-scale cardboard mock-ups by Schuessler before Yakowec finished them with his aluminum welding expertise.
While the word “inertia” connotes apathy and resistance to change, Schuessler’s multi-pronged marketing approach is anything but inert. Viewers can check out his work this summer both at the Silverwood Gallery and at Pastabilities.
Russ Tarby is a freelance writer with the Eagle Bulletin. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.